Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The First Big Guy

My father-in-law would have turned 100 today.  He'd have been very proud of what he saw.

His youngest child, his namesake, the Junior, was teary-eyed, looking at the finally arrived aren't they here yet? absolutely gorgeous wedding pictures.

Sergio captured the moments perfectly. My house has never looked lovelier and my daughter has never looked happier and I wish that TFBG could have been here to enjoy the party. 

He'd have been very proud.

He was self-reliant and independent and managed his own affairs without interference or consultation.  His retirement planning ran through A to Z and ended, on graph paper, in pencil, each letter occupying its own space and nothing more, with PP.  He shared them with TBG, but only as a curiosity.  He would own the result as he owned the preparation.

Ownership was something he took seriously.  He had the same woolen bathrobe for his entire adult life.  His shoes were works of wonder; treed every night and polished by day, they lasted for decades.  Every tool had its proper place, and none were ever put away improperly, or unclean.

What I view as persnickety nit-picking annoying TBG's acute attention to detail, TFBG saw as the only way to be. All his pencils were always sharpened.  All his scrap paper was always neatly cornered.  His coins were stacked, separated into appropriate piles, atop his dresser each night before he went to bed. 

My closet, which, last week, looked like a bomb exploded underneath the hanging clothes, tossing things off shelves and out of jewelry boxes, would have been beyond his ken.  But he would never have said a thing.  If it worked for me, that would have been just fine. I was Suz-eye, the one his little boy had chosen.  I must be okay.

It was that acceptance of the world around him which made him so special to me.  He may have been different when his children were small, and he was travelling, and there were issues.  I will never know.  By the time we met, he was settled into a routine which worked for everyone.... and there he stayed.  It wasn't boring, it wasn't habitual or without thought.  It was a plan.  There really is a difference.

With his life organized, TFBG could concentrate on the things which were interesting.  Look up at the ceiling of the room you're in and then come right back here.  How many light fixtures were up there?  How many square drop-ceiling panels?  How many holes per panel?  TFBG wouldn't have looked down until he knew.  Then, while the rest of us were trying to remember, he'd be creating mathematical puzzles and pictures with the information newly stored in his brain.  He was never bored; there was always something to count.

He loved me because I loved his son and didn't annoy his wife and that was enough for him.  He took me as I came, family warts and all. Without judgment, without strings, without anything but affection and warmth, he was a rock on whom to lean.

He wasn't perfect, but he was close enough that we named our own son The Third. 

No, it wasn't ego on Dad's part.  It was homage to the grandfather who embodied that title.

He truly was a Grand Father.

Rest in Peace, Paw.  You are missed.


  1. Very cool wedding photos! The bride was just beautiful. I love the one where they're jumping in the pool.

  2. Great story of your father-in-law. Great photos of what looked to be a really wonderful day. Thanks so much for sharing.


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